September 18, 2014
another marathon of smooth 70s grooves + freakout
Warning: there's a string of splices or "skips" in the Bertha around 1:30 to 2:40 and again towards the end -- it's not your computer (this is a nice version otherwise).
The "enhancement" of the patched in audience recording here isn't much of an improvement over other copies in the Archive ... a bit less muddy, perhaps, but maybe a bit on the tinny side with some wafts of high end distortion more audible as a result. I prefer the 14673 Weiner transfer if you're in the mood for the audience sound (for best results don't forget to "acclimate" to the sonics before diving into the deep waters ... ;)
The soundboard (which starts after Brown Eyed Women) is of exceptional fidelity with a nice even mix and great stereo. The kick drum has some nice umph to it which is sometimes absent from the boards from this era. Personally I'd like to hear a clean transer without any digital hiss reduction (I can handle that myself with analog EQ).
Gotta love the setlist: Greatest Story, Box of Rain, Row Jimmy (a mellow version, consistent with most of the rest of the show ... no slide guitar, but all of Bobby's moves are beautifully preserved... sounds like Jerry uses the second solo as an opportunity to tune his guitar and Phil picks up the slack), China->Rider (the segue almost starts to take off into something strange but veers instead into the safe haven of the "feeling groovy" jam), a great Playin in the Band (Keith seems to disappear for a good while during the jam ... is he just buried way back in the mix or is he playing very quietly or just ... gone?... until about 10:20 when the Rhodes shows up in a big way), They Love Each Other (Jerry turned way up on this one), Here Comes Sunshine (Bobby back up in the mix again at the beginning tho' it's pretty much Jerry and Phil and Billy pulling oars in the jam except for a too-brief Bobby solo around 7:00), a flaming Me & My Uncle, a sublime He's Gone with a lovely outro lasting no less than 8 minutes (?! - Keith just perfect on this) ... and a remarkable Truckin->OtherOne (with Phil absolutely huge in the mix, Keith splattering his Rhodes all over the arena walls, and enveloping a heartfelt uptempo version of Bobby McGee -- listen to Jerry and Bobby belt it out before their U-turn back into the Other One where things eventually get unusually ugly and fantastically beautiful again in rapid (or slow) succession for a solid 8 minutes. If you didn't know better you might swear you were listening to a Feedback from 1967 or 68.
Then toss in two of the best Chuck Berry songs. Where's the Bird Song, you say? The Wharf Rat? Well, you can't have everything ...
For those keeping track, this is an extremely well-played El Paso and the board recording serves it very well. The band hits all the peaks in perfect synch, Bobby nails the vocals and Jerry is right there with the harmonies.
There's no board recording apparently for the Black Peter but the audience works perfectly well. The versions of this period usually have great harmonies from Phil during the "come around" bridge before the final verse
Somebody (sounds like a woman but who knows) lets out a crazy scream towards the end of Playin' when the band signals that they're approaching re-entry into the song. She must be close to the front of the stage because her cries are very clear. Good stuff. There's some real carrying on after Playin' and few other great audience reactions captured by this board.
July 20, 2008
great upgrade from the AUD
the AUD of this show isn't bad but having this SBD available is really great.... the Audience patches are minimal, the first few songs.... pick it up at JACK STRAW, and the band sounds great....
the board of Black Peter is missing.... and then the very end of SUGARMAG and the encore -- otherwise you get a very smooth sounding recording of the band at the height of their powers: the often maligned Here Comes Sunshine moves along at a nice upbeat tempo, BILLY sounds great, jerry smokes...... the jam from Other One trough Bobby Mcgee and back again isn't so much stretched out as inventive.
4 stars all around